Early Childhood

Teach For America Said Boon to D.C.

By Linda Jacobson — December 08, 2008 1 min read

Teach For America’s expansion into preschool is having positive effects so far, at least in the District of Columbia, a study suggests.

During the 2007-08 school year, 124 pre-K pupils in the 49,000-student school district who were taught by TFA corps members learned to recognize all or most of the letters of the alphabet, according to the study by Westat.

The findings are “remarkable,” writes Nicholas Zill, the author of the paper, who recently retired from his post as a vice president of the Rockville, Md.-based research organization, “because getting young children from low-income families to learn all their letters before they start kindergarten is an accomplishment that is not usually achieved in Head Start or in public school prekindergartens serving low-income, central-city families.”

Recognizing letters, he adds, “is an important steppingstone on the path to reading.”

The results are also noteworthy, he writes, because the teachers were recent college graduates without advanced training in child development or early-childhood education—training that many organizations say preschool teachers need.

The study was not a randomized trial, but the preschoolers were evaluated at the beginning and the end of the school year, and their scores were compared with national norms and with the achievement of similar children in Head Start.

Additional evaluations of pre-K classes taught by Teach For America recruits are also likely, since the alternative teacher-preparation program continues to place its corps members, as TFA teachers are called, in preschool and Head Start classrooms.

The New York City-based TFA, which has been placing new liberal-arts graduates in hard-to-fill teaching positions since the early 1990s, began to move into the pre-K realm about two years ago. It officially launched its pre-K initiative in 2007. (“Teach For America Setting Sights on Pre-K,” Feb. 9, 2007.)

The effort by TFA in Washington and elsewhere, Mr. Zill writes, “should be prompting some soul-searching among those who want to strengthen early-childhood-education programs for disadvantaged children.”

A version of this article appeared in the December 10, 2008 edition of Education Week

Events

School & District Management Live Event Education Week Leadership Symposium
Education Week's Premier Leadership Event for K12 School & District Leaders.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Law & Courts Webinar
The Future of Criminal Justice Reform: A Sphere Education Initiative Conversation
America’s criminal justice system is in crisis and calls for reform are dominating the national debate. Join Cato’s Sphere Education Initiative and Education Week for a webinar on criminal justice and policing featuring the nation’s
Content provided by Cato Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Equity, Care and Connection: New SEL Tools and Practices to Support Students and Adults
As school districts plan to welcome students back into buildings for the upcoming school year, this is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and our systems to build a
Content provided by Panorama Education

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Early Childhood Opinion Waterford Upstart on Providing Remote Learning to 90,000 Pre-K Kids
Rick Hess speaks with Dr. LaTasha Hadley of Waterford Upstart about its use of adaptive software to close gaps in kindergarten readiness.
6 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Early Childhood How Two Child-Care Centers Put Competition Aside and Created a Partnership During COVID-19
Due to COVID-19, two early-childhood centers put their competition aside to work together to support families during the pandemic.
Charles Dinofrio
7 min read
Early Childhood New Players Fill Child-Care Gap as Schools Go Remote
As school districts move to remote instruction for the fall, day-care providers, dance studios, and after-school programs step in to fill school-day child-care gaps.
7 min read
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
A student works on schoolwork earlier this month at the Wharton Dobson Club in Wharton, Texas, part of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston. For a small fee, the organization is offering a full-day program that provides students a safe place to complete their remote learning classwork and socialize with friends.
Courtesy of Boys and Girls Club of Greater Houston
Early Childhood Will Kindergartens Be Empty This Fall?
As cases of COVID-19 continue to grow, parents around the country are struggling with whether to send their child to kindergarten this fall. Some say they won't.
6 min read
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Satiria Clayton was looking forward to her 5-year-old son Cassius starting kindergarten this year in Tempe, Ariz., but the recent spike in coronavirus cases has left her, like many other parents, worried about what to expect. "In an ideal would I would love to stay at home and teach him,” she said. “The reality is I have to send him to school."
Courtesy of Satiria Clayton